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Update from UK Theatre / SOLT on relaxation of the rules from 19 July

Below is a relevant extract from UK Theatre/SOLT briefing note on their position on the relaxation of rules from 19th July 2021 ( Subject to confirmation by the PM on 12th July 2021). This was circulate to all LTG Members by NLO, Eddie Redfern.

Self-isolation and Track & Trace
You will be aware of the announcement on Tuesday that from 16 August, those double vaccinated will not have to automatically self-isolate for 10 days on contact with a positive case. However, the current system is proving unworkable for theatres and shows now.

Yesterday, Julian Bird was quoted in a page 1 Telegraph story about how self-isolation rules after 19 July will damage sectors including theatre. We subsequently sent his statement (below) out to press:

‘Without an alternative to automatic self-isolation for casts and crew that come into contact with a positive case, more theatre and shows will be forced to close in England just as they are allowed to open in full. Given the strictly controlled working environment under which theatres are already operating, we need a testing regime to replace the current system as soon as possible and certainly no later than 19 July.’

We are extensively lobbying and working with government across multiple departments on this, including the ministerial meeting as above.

Face Coverings and “See It Safely”
Following the changes announced for Step 4, there has been much debate about the continued use of face coverings, and our thanks to all members who have contacted us on this issue.

Discussions with both Boards took place yesterday and our recommendation, as an industry, will be to strongly encourage the continued use of face coverings inside venues. We will be releasing a full statement on 12 July, following the final go-ahead on Step 4 of the Roadmap. We will also review this recommendation in the first part of September.

We will be issuing updated See It Safely guidelines for use beyond 19 July, to help boost audience confidence as theatres reopen fully. Research shows that there is continued nervousness and a need for reassurance in terms of Covid safety measures, and we want to build on positive audience sentiment around existing theatre safety measures. The above messaging on face coverings will be part of the revised See It Safely materials.

Anne Gilmour